Weddings That Inspire

LDR Couple Plans Intimate Wedding in 5 Months

Everything was worth the stress, says bride

Long-distance relationship, plus global pandemic, plus wedding planning–Timothy John Anthony Ng and Dennilyn Joyce Castelo had quite a bit of hurdles to get through before they could be pronounced husband and wife. But after all the challenges, Thobie and Joyce were married on July 6, 2021 at Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Antipolo City. A reception followed at Jardin de Miramar Events Venue and their intimate wedding had the color motif of dusty blue and blush pink.

Thobie and Joyce first met at work, as medical technologists. Eventually Thobie received the opportunity to work in the US and while he was abroad and on their sixth year as a couple, he proposed to Joyce. But because of the challenges of the pandemic, Thobie proposed to Joyce online.

Their intimate wedding had to be rescheduled to allow for Thobie’s 10-day quarantine since he was returning home from the US to get married. Joyce says that they knew that what they were about to embark on would be a challenge. The couple only planned for five months and some details of their wedding could only be finalized once Thobie was back in the country. But “all the stress really paid off. And every penny that we spent on our suppliers was worth it,” Joyce says.

Below, Joyce shares first hand what it’s like to plan a pandemic wedding in five months while your fiancé is halfway across the world:

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Did you have a theme for your wedding?

Our wedding theme is ‘flowery’ filled with our color motif dusty blue and blush pink. Making sure that our ceremony and reception are surrounded with these colors. We’ve made sure that all the wedding essentials are complete. As much as possible I wanted it all to be customized for us.

What were the challenges you encountered during your wedding preparation?

There are a lot of challenges and hassles for the both of us from the documents, details, and prenup. We are an LDR and pandemic couple. Planning a wedding while in long-distance relationship is never easy, add to the fact that we are in a pandemic. During the five-month planning period, we experienced the stress in completing all the documents and seminars.

We also had to move the wedding date due to the changes in protocols because Thobie will be coming from US and a 10-day quarantine is required. Another one is how we can make everything fit given the limited time of Thobie’s vacation. This included the groom’s suit–it was only made 3 days before our wedding including measurements, detailing, and fittings–and the prenup pictorial which we we were able to pull off two days before the wedding. Bonus, it was raining so hard that day. Even though the weather was not good, the photos were perfectly shot. We are really thankful to our photographer, Mark Vitasa, and makeup artist, Nybie Ng, who are both part of our family. Thobie and Nybie are siblings.

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How did you handle the challenges and changing wedding dates?

From the start of the wedding planning, we knew that it wasn’t going to be easy considering all the things that we needed to do and the day-by-day changes in the restrictions during this pandemic. We lift our trust to God and his plans for us. We never left each other’s side during this planning period. We find ways so that we can both share ideas and thoughts most especially when it comes to accomplishing papers, filling up the coordinator’s file, completing the program details and making our wedding songs list. Technology is such a great help in this process. And all the couples know how important wedding details are.

We take each challenge one at a time and find the best solution for it. Yes, moving a wedding date is such a headache. But during this time, we stayed calm and let go of other unnecessary thoughts. We stay focused on the planning. We are so lucky to get the only date and time available in the church that could work with Thobie’s vacation schedule. Then we informed all the family, guests, and suppliers. We are glad they were all still available for our chosen date.

How did you feel during the wedding?

We we’re both excited on the day of our wedding though we are feeling tired because we were busy days before our big day. Seeing every detail that you wanted and imagined come together was such a great achievement for us. All the stress really paid off. And every penny that we spent on our suppliers was worth it. They are all highly recommended and welcoming of our requests. It was a success because of combined efforts. We were the happiest during our wedding.

What were your most memorable moments from your wedding?

All the moments were memorable. The pictorial during the preparations was one for the books because I didn’t sleep the night before the wedding and Thobie did not have enough rest too because of his suit fittings. But we needed to smile in the pictorial like we are well rested. Since we had an 8 AM wedding, we had to wake up at 1 AM. In addition, we were so impressed with how our guests managed to wake up early and celebrate with us.

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There are some parts in the ceremony that are memorable also, like the time that we walked down the aisle and reading our vows to each other. It was very a solemn celebration of love with our family and closest friends. We also look forward to the wedding the Same Day Edit and Pictures, we are happy to see the reactions of everyone and how candid it was.

Any advice for other couples who are planning to get married or will be getting in the time of a pandemic?

We know how much each soon-to-wed couple struggles and loses hope during this pandemic because we’ve been in that same situation. Trust God’s plan and keep praying. And during this time, you must be strong. We also suggest to have other options, Plan B, C, D or so on, if needed. Include livestreaming as one of your suppliers so that all the important people can be a part of your special day even if they are not physically present.

As a couple, we decided to have a minimal number of guests. Though it would have been so much happier if we would have many guests, safety comes first. We also required Covid antigen swab testing for each of our family, guests, and suppliers. We allotted budget for this so that we can be assured of the safety of everyone and that they could enjoy every part of the wedding. We also have some reminder standees and alcohol all over the reception area. And our souvenirs for our guests were also alcohol sprayers. We would also flash safety protocols on our LED WALL to remind everyone to stay safe. We really appreciate that they all cooperated especially with the swabbing.

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The Dream Team

Church: Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary | Photography, Videography, and live-streaming by Mark Vitasa Photography | Hair and makeup by Nybie Ng | On the day coordination by Mai Events Management | Church styling, bridal bouquet, and entourage flowers by Flower's by Edmar Gabila | Reception venue: Jardin de Miramar Events Venue | Catering and crew meals by Sac B. Catering Service | Bride’s prep place: Bakuran | Groom’s prep place: CASA Rita Overlooking Vacation | Bridal gown and family’s gowns: April Dalid | Groom’s suit by Ian Manila | Entourage gowns by Love Humbly Shop | Souvenirs by Heartist Studio | Invitations, thank you cards, monogram by Something Peachy | Cocktails by Donut Wall by Hazel | Appetizers by Potato Corner | Host: Valerie Jalijali-Tugade | Mobile bar by Wild Cocktails Mobile Bar | Lights and sounds by Techdadi Lights and Sounds | Wedding Rings by Imelda’s Jewelry | LED Wall by 888 LED Wall | Photo Booth by Candid Closet Photobooth | Church and reception singers by GSeven Band

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